What did campaign reform supporters in New York to today when they were blocked from attending a hearing called by New York Senate Republicans? They found a window.
New York Daily News:
Protestors were literally coming in through the windows at today’s state Senate hearing on the New York City campaign finance system.
Shut out of the cramped hearing room by the Senate’s sergeants at arms, a group of election-reform protestors eventually grew tired of shouting in the hallway and tried to disrupt the session via the room’s first floor windows. A few protestors did manage to stick their heads in and chant “Let People In” before officials closed the window. They also threw dollar bills inside as a symbol of the money in politics.
More from the AP
“The most ambitious legislative effort to reform the country’s financial system in nearly 80 years was just a few weeks old, and already the bill was in trouble.
“Members of the House Financial Services Committee, the bill’s first stop in the summer of 2009, were facing a barrage of complaints from hometown bankers and the industry’s army of Washington lobbyists. They wanted to block the creation of an independent regulatory agency aimed at protecting consumers from the risky financial products that had helped bring on the Great Crash of 2008.”
“What does surprise me is that there is no shame in Washington anymore and people don’t think this is a conflict,” said Craig Aaron, president and CEO of Free Press.
Here’s a plan we can get behind:
Convinced that the right to vote for all citizens isn’t fully protected under law, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, is planning a long-shot proposal to add a 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
“What it would do is grant for the first time in American history a constitutional right to vote,” Cooper said Wednesday after announcing the proposal at a Nashville Bar Association luncheon during a strikingly personal speech that evoked race, discrimination and equality.
From The Nation: “How Wall Street Defanged Dodd-Frank”
In just three months, Missouri lobbyists have spent more than $450,000 on gifts to state lawmakers.
St. Louis Public Radio notes a few of the gifts:
- March Madness: Legislators received about $7,000 in “entertainment” gifts (most of it for tickets) in March, coinciding with NCAA conference basketball tournaments and the beginning of March Madness. Total entertainment spending this year: $17,000.
- Bowling Tournament: In March, the Senate apparently had a bowling tournament sponsored by various lobbyists who foot the bill for the lanes, food, drinks, and even shirts.
- Sweet Tooth: So far this year, Senator Brad Lager has received about $450 worth of jelly beans, M&Ms and soda for his office, bought by James R Moody and Associates and (somewhat ironically) Consumer Healthcare Products Association. According to vigorous research by St. Louis Public Radio, you can buy about 50 lbs worth of jelly beans for that amount of money.
That’s a lot of jelly beans!
These four elected officials—U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-KY.), Govs. John Kasich (R-Ohio) and Nikki Haley (R-S.C.)—all attended the billionaire Koch brothers’ summit with the country’s “leading conservative donors” in California this weekend, according to the New York Times.
Those discussions unfolded over two days at the Renaissance Esmeralda, a sprawling golf resort that has previously hosted the Kochs’ twice-yearly conferences. The atmosphere was equal parts revival and situation room, participants said: Phones and electronic devices were banned from some panels, as Koch strategists detailed next year’s electoral battlegrounds and donors committed contributions to particular states or projects.